Over the past few months, UCFB students and graduates have taken a central role in the event planning, delivery and management of life-changing football events inside the UK’s leading stadiums for not-for-profit sport organisation Football Aid. Founded by Craig Paterson in 2000, Football Aid gives fans, who have only been able to dream about it, the chance to experience the thrill of a match day; to pull on their favourite shirt, walk down the tunnel to the sound of the crowd and play an adrenaline-fuelled 90 minutes on the hallowed turf of the club they support.

In order to ensure the customer experience is perfect, employees and volunteers are key to Football Aid’s success. After visiting UCFB as a guest speaker earlier this year, Director of Football Aid David Dale was extremely impressed by the calibre of the UCFB students and offered a number of them the opportunity to work in the organisation. David has since hired existing students on work experience placements and has a number of graduates playing pivotal parts in the company full-time.

We caught up with some of the students to find out what they learned during their time working for Football Aid.

BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student, Bidemi Bamgboye commented on his work experience with Football Aid:

“My time working at Football Aid was extremely fun and beneficial. David and the rest of the Football Aid team were very welcoming and a pleasure to work with. I was asked to assist the team with three fixtures which were based at Loftus Road, White Hart Lane and Villa Park.

“Duties included helping to set up the event, receiving guests, ensuring everyone was where they were supposed to be and ensuring the events ran smoothly. I also helped with clearing up after the games finished and in particular made sure that pitchside was how it should be before the closing ceremonies.

“Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Football Aid. It was excellent experience being able to work so closely with the Director, David Dale who was very forthcoming and had a lot of knowledge to share. I hope to be selected to work with the team again in the future to further my skills even more.”

Fellow BA (Hons) Football Business & Marketing student, Matthew Annis reflected on his experience at Football Aid:

“While working at Football Aid, I took on the role of Football Event Assistant, working at Old Trafford and the Macron Stadium. One of my main roles was to set up the dressing rooms for teams to ensure it felt as close to a real-life match day experience for everyone involved. In addition to making sure the event got off to a great start, I was also a point of contact for families and friends who came to watch the match and made sure they were looked after throughout the entire event.

“Having access to all areas within the stadiums and being part of large scale sporting events was a fantastic experience. The events industry is where I am looking to progress into and Football Aid gave me a real motivational boost towards my career goals. I cannot thank UCFB and David and the team enough for the opportunity, and it would be a pleasure to get involved more in the future with such a brilliant charity”.

Director of Football Aid, David Dale gave his thoughts on the UCFB students:

“I was overwhelmed and delighted with how each of the UCFB students performed with impeccable manners, politeness and willingness to ‘get their hands dirty’ and learn. Football Aid is developing strongly across Europe so there will be further international work experience opportunities for UCFB students in the near future.”